#90 Arkansas Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #90
Conference Rank: #10 SEC

Arkansas Team Page#90 Arkansas Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Arkansas Basketball Tickets

Year two of the Mike Anderson era turned out a touch better than year one. Arkansas ended up with a 19-13 overall record and a 10-8 mark in the SEC. That put them right in the middle of the conference standings and that is where they will likely end up again this season. But that does not mean this group cannot take the next step and earn a trip to the NIT. The Razorbacks did not have a senior on the roster in 2012-2013 and now the depth should be there for Coach Anderson to run his hectic game plan effectively.

2012-13 Record: 19-13, 10-8
2012-13 Postseason: None
Coach: Mike Anderson
Coach Record: 37-27 at Arkansas, 237-125 overall

Who’s Out:
There were no seniors, but two players left early for the professional ranks and Hunter Mickelson transferred. Mickelson is a good player who never really fit into the system. Without Mickelson and Marshawn Powell the frontcourt lost their two usual starters. Powell averaged 14.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks during his junior season. Healthy for an entire season, Powell left to try his luck at the next level. He went undrafted, as did point guard BJ Young. Young slumped as a sophomore when it came to shooting from beyond the arc, but he kept scoring in other ways. In the end he led the Razorbacks with 15.2 points and 3.4 assists. Arkansas is going to have to find another go-to-scorer on the perimeter and the frontcourt.

Who’s In:
The new star power is ready to step up and a few newcomers could emerge as stars right away. Manuale Watkins can add some depth on the perimeter, but it is Bobby Portis, Moses Kingsley and Alandise Harris that have the fans most excited. Portis, a 6-9, 225 pound forward, is one of the top recruits in the country. He can get up and down the floor extremely well for a player his size. His athleticism, length and timing make him a superb shot blocker and rebounder and that is what the Razorbacks need him to do right now. Portis is a versatile scorer who can step out and knock down the mid-range jumper, yet he will need to get stronger to battle in the paint with the best the SEC has to offer. Kingsley at 6-9 and 210 pounds, is another great pickup for Coach Anderson. He is more of a traditional big man than Portis, but can still knock down the short jumper and move well enough to keep up with his teammates. Picking up two top 50 recruits like Portis and Kingsley is huge for this program right now and finding two big bodies that will not be left in the dust by their new teammates is very impressive. Harris spent two seasons at Houston, where he averaged 13.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in 2011-2012. The numbers may not be as high at Arkansas, yet Harris is one of the toughest players around and he can do much of the dirty work.

Who to Watch:
Ten players who spent some time in the regular rotation are back. Forward Coty Clarke is the top returning scorer and rebounder at 7.6 and 5.2, respectively. He will be the anchor in the frontcourt while the newcomers come around. Jacorey Williams showed some potential as a freshman and is at least a tough, high energy player who can fill minutes. The new star of the backcourt will likely be Mardracus Wade. Wade’s outside shooting dropped below 30 percent during his sophomore season, but he shot 47.6 percent as a freshman. He has the shot. It is open looks that could be a problem. Even if he is not shooting particularly well, Wade is a great defender. Rickey Scott and Rashad Madden are both capable scorers and quality rebounders for guards. Scott is also a quality ball handler and can take over for Young.  Scott, Wade and Madden are the most experienced pieces in the backcourt and will be looked up to collectively replace Young and find some consistency from beyond the arc.

Final Projection:
The backcourt does have plenty of other options though. Anthlon Bell and Kikko Haydar are quality shooters off of the bench, while Michael Qualls can get to the basket in a flash. Fred Gulley missed the fall semester last season after transferring in from Oklahoma State and is a defensive specialist. DeQuavious Wagner is a fine distributor, although he averaged just 6.3 minutes per game as a freshman. Without Young and Powell, this team may not be any better than they were in 2012-2013. Yet, another mid-table finish in the SEC should be enough to get to the NIT since the conference will be tougher this time around. If the depth pans out and the three-pointers start falling more consistently, Arkansas will stick around the NCAA Tournament talk for a while.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Rickey Scott, Senior, Guard, 4.3 points per game
Mardracus Wade, Senior Guard, 6.5 points per game
Rashad Madden, Junior, Guard, 4.2 points per game
Coty Clarke,Senior, Forward, 7.6 points per game
Bobby Portis Jr., Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.7 (40th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.8 (230, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.5 (165, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.3 (198, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (176, 6)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.01 (283, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.2 (242, 10)
Rebound Margin: -2.5 (269, 13)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (39, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.6 (49, 3)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#102 Bobby Portis

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#17 Bobby Portis
#50 Moses Kingsley


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